tv MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin MSNBC June 1, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PDT
restless wave." >> thanks. and craig melvin takes over in new york. a big day at the white house. >> pick things up from there. good afternoon to you. craig melvin at msnbc headquarters in new york city. special delivery. got breaking news on this friday. any moment now president trump expected to meet with a high-ranking north korean official in the oval office. the highest ranking north korean official in some 20 years almost. we've been waiting for delivery of the letter from kim jong-un to the president. also watching for this meeting to start literally any moment. also -- breaking with the president. steve bannon, back in the spotlight. criticizing the president's attack on jeff sessions, and nation of outrage. the left celebrates the cancellation of "roseanne." the right calls for cancellation of samantha bee's show. have the standards in our culture shifted dramatically and perhaps permanently? those stories in a moment. all eyes on the white house.
any moment, a high-ranking north korean official expected to meet with president trump in the oval office. we are waiting for this official pull-up at 1600 pennsylvania. nbc's kelly o'donnell is standing by for us at the white house. also with me, jim walsh, a research associate specializing in international security at m.i.t. security studies program. kelly o., start with you. what do we know about this meeting between president trump and this north korean official, this top north korean spy named kim yong-chol? >> reporter: good afternoon, kregg. scene setting. i am outside the west wing and there are cameras in greater numbers than even on busy days by trump standards. even outside the west gate where the public can walk back and forth. a number of photographers are camped out in a position we don't typically see and all kinds of other vantage points where journalists are trying to get the first glimpse of what is
a historic moment. a north korean high-level official comes to the white house. it hasn't happened before and something that must be documented. so even by the typical ups and downs of the trump era, big news at any moment, this is pinning the meter. we expect john bolton, the president's national security adviser, and john kelly, the president's chief of staff, will greet kim yong-chol as he arrives at the white house and escort him to the oval office. think of the symbolism. most powerful office in the free world. the oval office. a point of pride for the president who often uses it as an opportunity to bestow sort of grandeur and even to bring people behind the curt an bit using the oval office in a way of greeting his guests. much more than we've seen perhaps previous presidents, and you consider who kim yong-chol is. someone at the right arm of the leader of north korea, who has been at the head of the intelligence services there, who has been a widely believed
person responsible for things that have been deadly on part of north korea and also in this electronic age, the sony hack that was a huge news story and a real breach of u.s. commerce and the corporate structure in america and has changed in many ways the way many of us live. now, set that against the fact he is bringing a letter in this electronic age. oldest of ways exchanging a message from one leader to another. the expectation is the meeting will not be long and won't need to but important to get a sense if we will be able to judge by president trump's body language or any words he chooses to say. we don't expect there will be an immediate opportunity to hear an assessment from the president on-camera, although he is often open to doing so. but will he hear something in that meeting? will he read something in that letter? remember, the president's own letter to kim jong-un said the dialogue between you and me is most important and here we will see today an example of that dialogue through a letter
delivered by a top official to the president of the united states. it's an extraordinary moment. just a little more than a week in advance of what would be the summit between the president and kim jong-un, if it goes forward. all signs certainly appear to be pointing towards the progress being made. also the president, of course, will meet with secretary of state pompeo and he has been at the heart of negotiations at the ministerial to try to prepare for a summit of this magnitude. one of the biggest dayed. stunned in march when the south korean delegation came out and said the president will meet with kim jong-un. many iterations. today is a high point. will it go forward and will it be productive? craig? >> kelly o'donnell. stand by if you can. bring in our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell now. andrea, kelly o. hit on this a bit. the significance of the optics here. i think it was you a few moments ago who indicated they're not
shuffling kim yong alcoh-chol t the back door. giving him the v.i.p. treatment. what can we glean from that? >> that this is likely pointing towards a summit as scheduled in singapore if not june 12th, very close to that date. i will bet on that. if the announcement is not made today it will be made soon. every sign in new york, where we were the last day and a half covering meetings with secretary pompeo were very positive. obviously, there was a statement from kim jong-un saying, we believe as we have in denuclearization. that's the crux of the matter, of course. how does each side define denuclearization? a lot of disagreement there. they've got to narrow those gaps, and the president himself said this might require a second or a third summit, or more than one day. so they're looking at something happening in june. likely in singapore. and the fact he is being given this welcome indicates he know pretty well what to expect from this letter.
this is not the welcome you give to someone who's just in the dark being brought in the dabac door. bringing a letter and you haven't been briefed at least on the context. it's very significant. this is a direct communication. not a leader who tweets or e-mails. so this is a letter, a formal communication between the leader of a country with which we do not have diplomatic relations, in which north, south and the u.s. and the u.n. are really still at war. >> as we continue to look here at the diplomatic security entrance. this is the colonnade on the south lawn. jim, bring you in to the conversation here. kim yong-chol, right-hand man to the korean leader there. what more do we know about him? i mean, best we can gather, this is someone with, shall we say, a checkered past? >> y >> yes. a longtime survivor in a regime where people can get shot. worked for every korean leader.
now the young chairman kim. had military roles, political roles. currently i think vice chairman of the korean workers party. a party run state. so that sort of is a big position. he is supposedly involved in 2010, in the sinking of that south korean ship that killed dozens of korean servicepeople and in the island shelling that year, but i think the most important thing about him is obviously he has the confidence of chairman kim. that's more important than anything else. you see him all the time with him in photos and in videos. and let me conclude by saying i agree absolutely with what andrea has said. this meeting would not be happening, this delivery of a letter, a north korea won not be coming to washington unless things were going well. if those meetings had gone poorly in new york, you would not be seeing a north korean official at the white house today. traditionally, and i know this from experience. i've hosted north korean
delegations if cambridge, met with them in new york, and it's very hard to get a visa. very hard to get a visa for a north korean official to come to the u.s. and almost impossible to get one to come to d.c. maybe new york. maybe cambridge. never washington. in these last 20 years. so this really tells you it's moving forward. >> andrea, correct me if i'm wrong. kim yong-chol an accused cyber terrorist. sanctioned by this government. should there be concern inside the white house that there is going to be now presumably this picture of donald trump and -- and kim yong-chol forever? >> they are betting this is going to be a popular decision. you heard the president back when he was in elcart, indiana. brought back the three north koreans from north korea, you heard him campaign on this. vice president pence talked about it. they think this is a very good midterm issue for them in
addition to the tax policy and domestic issues pushed on the campaign trail. he's talking making history. a legacy no other president has been able to achieve. if this works well, always the risk it won't, but if it works well this will be a real feather in his cap. that's the way they're viewing it. >> we should let viewers at home know, left side of your screen is the southwest gate. we are not certain whether that suv there is actually part of the motorcade. on the right side of your screen, a tighter shot of the colonnade on the south lawn. just saw chief of staff general john kelly come outside presumably to meet kim yong-chol. went went back inside. seems there a flurry of activity there at that door. one can assume kim yong-chol is fairly close by. jim, let me come back to you. how real is the possibility that the summit in singapore happens on or around june 12th and it's
purely for optics sake? by that i mean kim jong-un, president trump in a photo that would be plastered on the front page of every publication in the world for a day or two and after that not much else in terms of substantive policy changes? >> well, two things. i think they will be -- there will be a summit. i'm with andrea on this. i would bet on that. whether the 12th -- >> a substantive summit. >> on the substantive issue. again, if you follow what the secretary of state has said and he seems to be serious about this. they won't have a summit unless they make real progress. it's not going to be for show. not going to be a costume. you know, obviously the summit itself is not going to be where they negotiate out every single element of what will be a multiyear, complex affair. they will set general principles. they will set general benchmarks, and then it's going to be up to the lower levels of the bureaucracy to make that
happen, and as the president himself i thought very interestingly said earlier in the week. maybe yesterday. there might not be one summit. maybe it will take two meetings or three summits in ways dangling another carrot out to chairman kim saying that more is possible. more of these benefits, political benefits are possible, if you're serious. so i think they'll be some -- i would expect at a minimum we'll have some sort of announcement that locks in the freeze on missile testing, nuclear testing. starts to make some announcements about a process for negotiating problems in the, where there's a disputed area of the sea. you know, maybe a working committee on looking at the peace treaty to settle the arms -- things like that. but very little that can be accomplished in one day. as andrea pointed out, the piece that came out this week outlines a 15-year process and the first part of that process is you freeze. then after freezing you build
sort of a verification infrastructure piece by piece, bit of uranium, by uranium, bomb by bomb. won't have it all right out of the gate. >> looks like the arrival. kim yong-chol getting ready to walk into the white house to meet president trump. greeted by general kelly. >> reporter: extraordinary moment and many employees out along the path here wanting to see a bit of this history. also important to note when a leader of this stature is in the united states, it is the u.s. responsible for his security and protection, and as we discussed, kim yong-chol has been an intelligence officer. imagine the way he is looking at the white house, and imagine the intelligence gathering of one man today as he's trying to as the u.s., report back to kim jong-un. boy, i apologize. i messed that up.
with the north korean leader. we'll get that straight. but this is an extraordinary moment. the chief of staff, of course, who is a four-star marine general, ability to as adversaries and john bolton, national security advisers. this will be part diplomatic in terms of extending some greetings and some hospitality and it is, of course, very serious, where we are trying to get a sense of, will the president read the signals in addition to the letter and determine that there is enough here to go forward as andrea has outlined and the conversation has made clear. you don't get to the oval office unless there's a green light. also, the president would be traveling from canada to singapore. that's the expectation. the g7 will be held in canada and all of the discussion of trade and the tensions over nafta and tariffs, the president probably will be anxious to get out of canada and head to singapore. so the timing of june 12th is important as well. here's the president. >> this was the -- >> reporter: the president's
chief of staff, yes. >> the scene a few moments ago. we did not get a look at kim yong-chol's face but a shot of the back of his head. happened quickly out of that suv. this is a live shot. a live look at the colonnade. you can see kim yong-chol there walking with chief of staff john kelly and also walking with presumably some of his aides as well there. from north korea. a smile. it looked as if there was a bit of a smile there. seems to be in good spirits, andrea mitchell. we know he has been meeting with secretary pompeo in new york. that meeting happened yesterday. we know the secretary of state has been to north korea and met with kim jong-un twice in the past two months. and now this, andrea mitchell. it seems as if it was just yesterday when donald trump had writ an letter to kim jong-un telling him that the summit was off and as you indicated just a
few moments ago it would seem as if all signs now are that this thing is most definitely back on. andrea, do we know after this -- this brief meeting with president trump, whether the two of them are going to appear for what we call the pool spray? do we know at this point? >> my bet it would happen. you can see the pool is there outside the oval office. their position to the rose garden pushing in towards the colonnade. you see them walking. i can't see from my monitor. i don't, craig you may have a better picture, whether john bolton as expected was one of the greeters. >> he was not. >> that irony would be profound. he's been in the recent past in favor of regime change and one of those that has been believed to be not completely onboard at least from his past rhetoric, before he became national security adviser more recently. of course, pompeo has also met with kim yong-chol twice before. first when they were --
adversaries, if you will, both spy chiefs, when he was cia director and his first mission, secret mission to north korea to meet with kim yong-chol and kim jong-un that first -- beginning to discuss the summit, and then the second meeting, of course, was only two weeks ago. i think only two weeks ago when we were seeing the arrival, two or three weeks ago, the arrival in america. the three detainees when pompeo brought them back. so now pompeo has been really carrying the ball on this. the president's praised him. dramatic change from his predecessor secretary tillerson who had so little communication with the president and so much friction with the president that he never would have been entrusted with this kind of mission, but pompeo has his own hard line credentials, if you will, and so he has been in charge of this normalization process. the picture you're seeing now on the right side of your screen, of course, are the photo
opportunities from yesterday when we saw them sitting across from each other at an american diplomatic mission. it's a high-rise building at 38th street and first avenue in new york just below the u.n. where the deputy chief of mission to the u.n. normally resides. it's been vacant. so presumably it was available for the dinner the night before and all of their meetings yesterday. then pompeo as you know had a news conference yesterday afternoon and described this as progress but still had the caveat there's more to be cleared up. and announced this visit today would be taking place. so we now know that they are in the oval office, presumably with the president. and if there's going to be a photo opportunity or an announcement, it's going to come i would think fairly quickly. there would be the letter to be delivered and this in itself is extraordinary. this level of communication, leader to leader, is very, very rare indeed, if not unprecedented. there was, as we say, a previous visit of a high-level north
korean official. not one sanctioned like this visitor or one as high a level now, the vice charmin of the workers, ruling party for the regime, but the real point man for -- for kim jong-un and, in fact, the counterpart, if you will, of secretary pompeo. the previous meeting was in october of 2000, it was with bill clinton, and it was enough to justify madeleine albright taking her team and the press pool i was in it to pyongyang. it was the heist raighest ranki official to viscid until secretary pompeo did. sitting official. former presidents, jimmy carter, bill clinton, to bring back american hostages, but this is -- through the oval window, right? >> yes. and we can't make out whether that's actually president trump sitting in that chair there, but we do know that -- president
donald trump right now is meeting with kim yong-chol, highest ranking north korean official to visit this country since vice marshal in -- we can tell you secretary of state pompeo is in the oval office as as well. andrea, you raised the question of john bolton, whether he is in there. kelly o'donnell, you were nodding during this conversation, i hear? >> reporter: we were advised john bolton would be participating. his absence is worth noting and andrea added the appropriate context and an intans chief of staff john kelly, supposed to be head of the structure here felt it appropriate he do this. if we turn the tables a bit and flash forward to say the summit happens, and if it is in local time based on being in singapore. in the united states, we'd be watching that in the middle of the night.
today with this incredibly important visit for a north korean official, it's now about 2:00 in the morning in north korea and time zones matter. we know that the world in north korea is not the 24/7 cable environment we live in, but time zone matters for this reason. in just the last month north koreans decided to adjust their time zone to unify it with south korea. it had been a 12.5 hour time zone. they 14ishifted a half hour so north and south would be in the same time zone. in a moment of diplomacy, even small gestures like that are a sign, and give us a sense of the new moment that president moon of south korea has been trying to create with more unity, even if not reunification but more of a unity among the korean people on the peninsula. that's just happened in recent weeks and is among the things we're talking about that could be a signal. we had heard that north korea had offered the possibility of a burger franchise, a western one,
an american one presumably, being opened in north korea as part of what might be on the table of options when negotiators go back and forth. we often see that in these diplomatic exchanges as well, where xmers at some level a part of it and often seen the president tout the purchase of military equipment with other kinds of world leaders who are allies. in this instance, perhaps it's burger diplomacy that will be at least one small detail in this long conversation with north korea. craig? >> chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell continues to watch all of this unfold. andrea, we can tell viewers and listeners we have been told that the president's photographer is there. an official record of this has been made. the president meeting now with kim yong-chol inside the oval office there on the right side of your screen. andrea, one of the things that struck me on the past few months is this question that president trump has been asked a number of times. have you spoken to kim jong-un
on the telephone? have you had any direct conversations with him? the president has sidestepped that question on a number of occasions. weren't quite cagey. what do you surmise? do you think that president trump would go to singapore and meet with the leader of north korea if he had not spoken with him on the phone already? >> i don't know the answer to that. i don't think they've spoken already. it there's going to be any greater communication i think it's by letter. that's why this letter is so significant. by the way, we were told by a senior state department official in new york that what really changed in the last week since the president's letter canceling the summit a week ago thursday, i believe, was their response. their response was so conciliatory they issued a statement which, in fact, was beyond conciliatory. a letter unlike any they'd previously seen from another high-ranking north korean official and asked what they made of it. the senior state department official said, i think they know they screwed up. which is a quote nap they
screwed up in being so tough. the week before. and in their rhetoric against vice president pence and others that they had gone too far reverting back after kim jong-un had gone to beijing and visited with the chinese, presumably to toughen up his negotiating stance that they made the rhetoric so unacceptable to president trump that -- you know, president trump felt he had to break off the summit and did it with very little communication and very little dialogue with his national security advisors in fact. really talking to john bolton. informs secretary mattis, discussing it with the secretary of state, but a very abrupt decision not notifying congress. we all remember what happened a week ago thursday. now it's a week later and they sent a very conciliatory response to his tough letter which is what made them think, ah, there is something here. i don't think they've had verbal communication. we may be proved rongwrong.
this is a secret process. my read so far, it is this letter and his letter and other communications via secretary pompeo that has been really significant. we also know that the vice chief of staff, the deputy chief of staff, i should say, joe hagan is a former bush administration official as well. he's in singapore. has been planning logistics this week with a team of counterparts. they had been stood up a week before and in his testimony a week thursday to the foreign relations committee, getting a dial tone when they tried to find out why everything was going off the tracks. so all of the signals have turned very dramatically in a positive direction, craig. >> andrea, thank you. and, again, on the right side of your screen, for folks who might just be joining us. you've probably seen a flurry of activity on the right side of your screen. what we know at this point is that kim yong-chol is inside the oval office with president
trump. secretary of state mike pompeo. we do not know who else is in that office. we're told that the meeting itself is going to be very short. we do not know if after this meeting the two of them actually might pose for some pictures, or perhaps the president will even take some questions while seated next to this former north korean spy chief, who is the right-hand man, if you will, of kim jong-un, north korea's reclusive president. again, all signs pointing to the summit in singapore happening on or near june 12th. this is the top north korean official. the highest ranking north korean official to visit this country in almost 20 years. there's his biocard, as we call them. and, again, we were looking at the images there inside the oval office. it's very difficult to sort of make out who some of these officials are based on silhouettes. so i won't even attempt that, but we can go to singapore right now, i'm told.
where we find our pentagon correspondent hans nichols watching all of this transpire as well and let folks know, hans, that you are there because the secretary of defense, james mattis is there. secretary mattis there, previously planned visit, but what more do we know, hans, about the preparations that are being made in that country ahead of this high-stakes summit? >> reporter: look, we know logistical conversations are continuing. the question is, it will all be likely overridden by what's happening inside the oval office. craig, the duration of that meeting inside the oval office matters. the longer, be the more likely they're having a substantive conversation and could be hashing out the very issues they hope to get final agreement in singapore. in terms of logistics of the summit here in singapore, they haven't select add location. at least haven't announced it. a city that's ready. has the capacity to host it and in about ten days the center of the world could be focused on
singapore. it's about 1:25 in the morning here. the middle of the night. a 12-hour time difference. as we continue to look at the gripping, captivating pictures there inside the oval office we have to mark our stopwatches, because the longer the meeting goes on, the more likely of substance. another key question, how quickly was that letter handed over to president trump? did it go through any security screening process first? these are crucial questions we need and right now have to watch the monitoring and watch the microphone to see what president trump says about this crucial meeting. craig? >> a good point. we do not know precisely what was in the letter, or the nature of the letter. again, it's a number of our our analysts pointed out here. one can assume that if the two of them are sitting down in the oval office and they've been sitting down for five, ten minutes now, that things must be going reasonably well. duration matters, according to hans nichols, our pentagon correspondent through in singapore. jim, bring you back into the
conversation as we continue to watch all of this unfold. again, on the right side of the screen there. white house officials including president trump meeting with kim yong-chol. your initial thoughts? >> well, craig, if you and i were having a cup of coffee five years ago and i said to you that donald trump and kim yong un would become pen pals, you would think i was crazy, and you would have made -- if you were a betting man. i don't know if you are or aren't, you would have made a big bet with me and of course i wouldn't have made that bet. because it was crazy. a measure how far we've come. how odd the world is around us. that's the first impression. second, i think as i say, i'm very bullish on this happening and i think a negotiation is the right way to go. i think it will help reduce dangers. dangers of war. reduce the danger of inadvertent war. any freeze we can get would be to our benefit to our national
security, but as we've witnessed even in the past week, you know, we're not out of the woods here. we're at the beginning. not at the end, and we could have lots of things that could come up out of the blue that could suddenly turn this in a different direction. so it's a big day. it's an important day. but things could change, you know, at a moment's notice and go in a very different direction. if this is a process that works well it will be of great benefit to the united states and to the globe. if it fails or worse sort of crashes and burns with both parties retreating to their corner angry and confused, then that puts you in a very different path. there the risk of war increases. so i'm all in favor of the negotiation, but we should probably -- if we've learned anything the past couple of weeks it's that we should probably take this one day at a time. >> also joining me here, ruth marcus, award-winning columnist with the "washington post." always good to have your perspective. our friend jim walsh there
talking about the ramifications for global security, and peace and whatnot, ruth, but let's talk about what we tend to talk about more often than not here. the politics of this. president trump politically. the risks. how -- how steep are the risks for him here? >> there are risks, but i have to say there are also enormous potential benefits. not just the nobel peace prize. which i don't think you should be counting on, donald, setting up a space on your book shelf for that quite yet, but, look. people were rattled some months ago with the talk of fire and fury. people, which i say people, i mean the voters. people out there -- think that talking is better than not talking, and being at the brink of a negotiation is better than being at the brink of a potential nuclear conflagration.
so i think there are enormous amounts of geopolitical risks here, with a summit that is being set up in a way that no summit i've ever heard of has been set up. with meetings between principles before all of the submeetings have happened and this unusual president's meeting, but i think that the geopolitical risks are a little greater than the political risks for president trump at this point. there's a lot of up side to him. people like to see their president acting presidential, and that means negotiating a particularly, they prefer to see people negotiating peace rather than threatening war. >> hans nichols, do i still have hans in singapore? is he still with me? >> reporter: you do. i'm still here, craig. >> okay. ruth raised an issue, and sort of makes me wonder. our allies, and our enemies abro abroad. >> reporter: yes. >> watching all of this unfold.
what are they making of all of this? what do we know about how our -- our allies and friends are seeing this? >> well, you're seeing a concerted effort from across the administration is to insist there's no daylight between the japanese, americans and their approach. whether or not that matches with reality, craig, you get different views on this. certainly in the south korean press there is questions about just how much the end points of these two countries converge. i do think we're going to take a giant step back and think about the timeline for negotiations. you heard president trump hint at this yesterday, that you could have maybe one, two, maybe even three rounds of negotiations. but within the intelligence community, there's broad agreement that the horizon for this is not limitless. you do need to have some sort of solution, because the further that the north korea advances, the more technological advances they make, the more likely to have the capacity to bring down a nuclear warhead with a
controlled icbm on to north america. the timeline is not limitless. that's a very real deadline inside the pentagon, inside intelligenceations. we just don't know exactly what the deadline is. they said a couple of months, they said towards the end of 2018. and that's why these intelligence assessments are so crucial. because those assessments set clocks and those are very real clocks, because when you take another step back, clear from president trump, he said it's unacceptable for north korea to have this capacity to strike the united states. yes, talks are going on, but that end stop is stopping north korea from having that capacity, and that is driven by very real developments on the ground in north korea, and there's always the danger, especially talking to officials in this part of the world. there's always the danger north korea is simply stalling, stalling for time and stalling for a better negotiating position. craig? >> kim yong-chol there inside the oval office. again, this is a man who is the
military intelligence chief for north korea for about seven years. vice chairman of the workers party. top nuclear weapons negotiator. negotiating with the south koreas about two years ago. an indication of his loyalty toy kim jong-un, the bodyguard for the kim family during the '60s and '70s. a guy that's been around power in north korea for a very long time. he has not just the ear of kim jong-un, we are told. he is one of his most trusted senior advisors. he delivered a letter to president trump. he delivered that letter roughly 20 minutes ago. our eyes and ears are on the ground there in washington, d.c. they tell us that kim yong-chol walked into the oval office at 1:14. it is now 1:34 on the east coast and the president of the united states and kim yong-chol appear
to still be talking's we don't know what's in the letter but told we might get a better serns sense of both of those things once this meeting wraps up. and ruth is still with me. columnist. you brought up the iran theory, eons ago. the president and vice president scared people around the world with that rhetoric. that letter roughly a year ago, when he appeared to be breaking up with kim jong-un the way a high schooler might break up with another high schooler and now here we are. can we deduce that perhaps all of that was part of some larger strategy? or am i giving the president too much credit? >> i -- might be giving the president a little bit too much credit there. the -- the president is a guy who lives in the moment, and he lives in the moment the way a new york real estate builder
lives in the moment, which is, you do what you need to do to get the deal in front of you. and then you say what you need to say to get ta deal and then if things start to fall apart down the road, you deal with the consequences down the road. this is an odd way to do diplomacy. but, you know, you have to say, and i'm sounding like much more of a trump -- i am not a trump supporter and i am, have been very concerned about all sorts of issues with the president's behavior and very concerned about his dealings with north korea, but having been to the demilitarized zone, knowing something about what a scary place that is and what a scary place it could be, not just for the south koreans but for us as the north koreans continue to develop their nuclear capacity, there might be something to the trump way when it comes to these dealings. the thing he needs to remember is that on the other side of these dealings, there are sort
of new york real estate operators of their own. north koreas made a lot of promises in the past too, to a number of previous presidents that they have not lived up to. what we know is, if this summit off again/on again summit does become on again and happens, trump will declare victory. what we need to do looking at it and analyzing it is to recognize that the proof will be in the pudding of that victory and in the monitoring. monitoring that they said was inadequate when it came to deal wig the nuclear deal in iran. how are they going to assure themselves of north korean compliance? >> as we're having this conversation, ruth it appears fas our photographer there in washington has zoomed in a bit on the oval office. that appears to be secretary of state mike pompeo seated there. can't really make out who's standing over him, but we were told that secretary of state pompeo is in the room.
appears to be in the room. president trump meeting with kim yong-chol there in the oval office. senior aide to kim jong-un delivering, hand delivering, a letter from kim jong-un and appears to have sat down for quite a conversation after the delivery of that letter. what's going to happen at this meeting? what will happen over the next few weeks? we will dig into that right after this. more? they've been saving folks money for over 75 years. a company you can trust. geico even helped us with homeowners insurance. more sounds great. gotta love more... right, honey? yeah! geico. expect great savings and a whole lot more.
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live look here. left side of your screen is a live look of the oval office. secretary of state mike pompeo there. right side of your screen is kim yong-chol moments ago walking in to the white house for a meeting with president trump. and there's chol there again strolling alongside the chief of staff, general john kelly, taking him to see the president of the united states. that was at roughly 1:14 and they are still inside the oval office breaking bread. the secretary of state, president trump and kim yong-chol. we know kim yong-chol delivered this handwritten letter -- maybe not handwritten, may have been a typewriter or computer used but a letter kim jong-un wanted president trump ho read ahead of this high doct-stakes summit th
hears to be on for june 12th. on again/off again, on again/off again, now back on again. i want to bring in kelly o'donnell. kelly o. is standing by live at the white house. what do we know, or do we know, what's going to happen once this face-to-face wraps up? >> reporter: well, our viewers have come to hear us talk about the pool. we have a small group of our colleagues who on a rotating basis are assigned to be closest to the president. so we've been waiting for word from them about any next steps. the latest guidance we have was their observation this is now roughly 30 minutes or so where we believe the president and his north korean guest are meeting. that is, perhaps, a sign of things going well as the day progresses we know that the president was supposed to have time with the secretary of state. so that makes sense that this could linger for a while, and then there will be another point where potentially we would see the president simply based on
his schedule not related to this, it's that a plane for the weekend at camp david. sometimes when the president departs for such a weekend we get an opportunity to ask him questions upon the departure nap could be something we could look for today. it would also be notable if mrs. trump, the first lady, would be with the president. she has none been seen in public for a few weeks now. since her office described publicly she was hospitalized for a kidney-related medical procedure. that could also be something today that would be on our radar. at the same time we have been waiting to know, is there any photo that's officially going to be released? will there were about opportunity for the president to say something? simply by judging the presidency of donald trump. he is one more often drawn to cameras and a willingness to speak when he thinks he has especially something to say or perhaps the upper hand. having the north korean leader inside the oval office could be such a day, if pe feels things have moved along substantially
enough and it would involve translators and officials helping to make this conversation to facilitate it so it would not be the same length as if two english speakers were meeting together. factor that in to the timing that we've been watching. quite a sunny day here in washington. so sometimes the window is hard to peer through with our colleagues who are on the south lawn side, and that's the oval office window you've been alluding to. notable when john kelly walked kim yong-chol to the white house they did not take the full colonnade route, which would have walked in to the president's door of the oval office. that's frequently done. instead went into the interior offices of the west wing, perhaps there were some other handshakes behind the scenes we have not yet been told about or perhaps just a waiting for the president to be ready to receive his guest in the oval office. so this is a time where as the conversation perhaps is more fruitful, which will mean our time in the sun will be longer,
but there are some schedules today that we will look forward to those data points. where the president speak on camera? make that available to colleagues waiting close by in the pool? and when he departs for camp david for the weekend, will he give us his own readout of this important day? craig? >> all right, kelly o'donnell for us at the white house. david knock knonakamora. a question posed to another panel lift here. we are all acutely aware of the ramifications, cloe s globally this is a summit that providing -- if this is a substantive summit we are acutely aware of what this would mean to the global world order, but politically, david nakamora, what are the risks, the potential rewards, the
calculations made here by this white house? >> everybody's made the point in the last three months since trump quickly decided to do the summit he was taking a big risk. normally you work up torwards a summit and make small agreements along the way. trump's doing it the opposite way. staked a lot of his political foreign policy capital on this. sort of elevating north korea to essentially his biggest foreign policy priority and jumped all in. i'm the master negotiator, will take it from here. kim jong-un is the only one that can make final decisions so let's get on with it. a major breakthrough, historic. if they don't, however, a number of things, whether the president rushed too quickly to do this. fractured alliances with south korea and japan who have different opinions on this process. and whether, of course -- what comes next? if this diplomacy fails, people said, look, we were on the brink
of hostile rhetoric and threats and name-calling last year. are we back to that and possible military action? which is a big, big concern obviously in northeast asasia. >> as we continue to watch the pictures right side of your screen, secretary of state mike pompeo sit seated. president trump talking to kim yong-chol. we are going to take a quick break. when we come back, ruth marcus is going to spend time with me talking about this article that she wrote today. this column, and she writes in part that a president's use of his pardon power offers an x-ray of his soul. we are going to talk about the president's soul on the other side of this break. this is msnbc. inary coffee. inary coffee. it's single-origin kenyan coffee from the nyeri highlands, 6,000 feet above sea level. but how do you really know that the beans journeyed to the port of mombasa and across the pacific? that you can trust they're 100% authentic? ibm blockchain. a smart way to track every step,
participating in internal meetings. she is also recently tweeting that despite efforts she claimed by the media that two raise speculation about where she is and what she's doing, she says via her tweet she is at home in the white house with her family. that answers one question we were considering today. >> melania trump, not traveling to camp david. kelly, thank you for that. we'll take another quick break as we continue to watch the meeting in the oval office. this is msnbc. we'll be right back. it's pretty amazing out there. the world is full of more possibilities than ever before.
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that's going to do it for this friday. i'll see you back here tomorrow morning on "today." >> tomorrow is saturday. >> every day, katy tur. >> every day is saturday? >> no. every day i'm working. >> what about sunday? >> i'll be working this sunday. >> you weren't lying? >> i don't lie on tv. >> but off tv? >> all the time. >> stephanie's here. she's riling me up. >> is there another royal wedding? >> it's a royal block. it's 11:00 a.m. out west and 2 p.m. at the white house. president trump is meeting with north korean spy turned diplomat kim yong-chol in the white house office. the right hand man of kim jong-un arrived 45 minutes ago to deliver a letter from the north korean letter to president trump. right now it appears as if they're still in the oval. first, across the country, the